NEWARK–After sitting on 698 goals for five games, it seemed unlikely that Alex Ovechkin, coming off a game in which he put home his 699th, would go that long for the milestone of goal number 700.

That notion was in fact correct.

At 4:50 of the third period Saturday afternoon at the Prudential Center, the Capitals, trailing 2-1, Evgeny Kuznetsov worked the puck from behind the net to Ovechkin who beat Mackenzie Blackwood. The goal coming from right circle–opposite his “office.”

A game-equalizer and his 42nd goal of the season which sets him well on pace to surpass last season’s 51. But most important, is that the Great Eight–already one of the best in the game’s history–enters elite company. Because of course, the Great Eight would enter the 700-goal club–as the eighth player in NHL history to do so.

Wayne Gretzky, Gordie Howe, Jaromir Jagr, Brett Hull, Marcel Dionne, Phil Esposito and Mike Gartner: please make room for Ovechkin. The first Russian-born member of the elite group and second European.

Ovechkin’s 600th goal came on Mar. 12, 2018–154 games ago. On pace to eclipse 50 goals this season for the ninth time in his career, 800 is a realistic marker to anticipate for the 34-year-old, who could still chase Gretzky’s league-record 894 goals. He trails Gartner by eight goals for seventh all-time and looks to be a lock to surpass Esposito (731), Dionne (731) and Hull (741) before 2021, when his 12-year, $124 million contract ends.

About The Author

Mad about being born into a Mets household during the Yankees dynasty, Neal McHale turned to something different after the 2000 World Series. He got NHL 2001 as a gift and it helped pioneer a hockey love affair. His first sportswriting gig was covering the historically-gritty Big East Conference. Since 2015, he's been with Inside Hockey covering the NHL.

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